I did it. It was a mistake. Up until now I had avoided visiting the Business Week forums. Finally on Friday my curiosity got the better of me and I went on the forums. Visited the HBS, Stanford and Chicago R1 forums. They seemed fine. Then I went onto one of the admissions consultant's forums. I don't know what I was thinking, but I put down my stats and asked what they thought. Their response was basically "You have a shot at Chicago, but chances at HBS and Stanford are slim to none." Wow. Goodbye confidence.
Now I know they don't have my whole application and are going on some basic information. And I know it's in their business interest to make applicants uncomfortable to try and sell services. And I know that people who are mentors to me, and who know a good amount about MBA admissions, have all said I'd be a competitive applicant at all those schools and would have a good chance to get in at one or more of them. And I know I've done a good job presenting myself on my HBS application, and my Chicago and Stanford applications are shaping up nicely. I know all this, and yet my confidence was still shaken.
So, I decided to take this weekend off. I have done no work, either on my "real" job or applications. I went to the gym. Enjoyed the good weather. Visited my sister and played with my little nephew. Put it out of my mind. And it worked. While I haven't completely forgotten about this little incident, my confidence is coming back. Tomorrow I leave for a week in Zurich and Athens, and will spend time on the plane revising Chicago essays and working more on Stanford.
Good luck to everyone else who's putting in HBS applications to Round 1!